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Monday, March 31, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Michelle Graham

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! This week my guest is Michelle Graham and she's giving away $10 in Strandbucks (for use on the Siren-Bookstrand Publishing website) to one lucky commenter!!! How about chasing away this endless cold winter with a hot book and a fun interview, Michelle? :)

Me: Do you prefer writing single title or series?
Michelle: I like stories that stand alone, but I like having more than one set in the same world. As a reader, I like to get glimpses into what’s going on with other characters as a series progresses and so I write that way, too.

Me: I love a good conflict. What draws your main characters to each other and keeps them apart?
Michelle: Usually the first thing bringing my characters together is sexual attraction and intense chemistry. They quickly discover that a relationship has to be built on more than great sex and that’s where the conflict comes in. At least one of them has something they’re keeping from the other person, or else they have different expectations for the relationships. Sometimes there’s also external conflict in the form of a psycho ex, or an angry parent.

Me: What’s your favorite sub-genre to write? To read?
Michelle: I find it easiest to write contemporary. I’ve started to dabble in sci-fi and paranormal, but I’m still uneasy about world building, because I love to read paranormal especially, and I know how picky readers can be when there are inconsistencies in the world the author has created.

Me: I usually get plot ideas in the shower and while driving. When/where does inspiration strike you?
Michelle: I often get ideas while showering or driving, too. I think it’s because those are the rare moments in the day when I don’t have other people competing for attention. Although occasionally I’ll get an idea in a strange place, like the grocery store, or the library.

Me: What new stories are you working on?
Michelle: I’m waiting on edits for the next book in my Losing It series and getting the third book ready to submit. I’ve also started a sci-fi story for a new series being developed by Evernight and it’s been a lot of fun to imagine sexy aliens and the out-of-this-world stuff they can do! Plus I’ve got tons of ideas swimming around in my head begging to be written.

Author Bio:
From her first Disney movie, Michelle Graham has adored love stories. After falling in love with her husband over a Slurpee, she’s a firm believer that love can happen anywhere. Michelle and her hubby are raising their two children and a cat in southern Ontario, where she writes sizzling, sexy love stories for the modern reader.

Website: www.michellegrahambooks.com

Blurb:
Many people remember losing their virginity as an awkward experience filled with pain and followed quickly by regret. Online hook-up site Losing It, hopes to change that. For those who’ve made it to adulthood with their virtue intact, Losing It matches virgins with experienced lovers who will make their first time unforgettable, with no embarrassing emotional entanglements.
Losing It in Vegas is the story of twenty-one year old Rowan Cassidy who is sick of being a virgin. With no romantic prospects in sight, she turns to Losing It to find her a man willing to do the deed and leave it at that. Bruce McGovern is between lovers and stuck in a dry spell so he takes a chance with Losing It. He and Rowan meet up in Las Vegas and somewhere in the midst of all the hot sex, feelings emerge that neither of them expected.

Links:
Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/losing-it-in-vegas-mf
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Losing-It-Vegas-Michelle-Graham-ebook/dp/B00J0CUFG8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395877308&sr=8-1&keywords=losing+it+in+vegas
All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-losingitinvegas-1450355-340.html
Evernight: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/losing-it-in-vegas-by-michelle-graham/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/losing-it-in-vegas-michelle-graham/1118943949?ean=2940045777117

I'm getting warmer already! Remember to leave a comment by midnight on Wednesday, April 2, for a chance to win $10 in Strandbucks!

Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Blogging

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

In addition to using guest blogs for promoting releases, authors can build a following by Blogging on their own sites. A themed blog helps boost an author’s brand, expands social media exposure, and adds a different approach to marketing and promotion.

Some writers enjoy sharing their day-to-day experiences with readers or blogging about their writing processes. Others blog about themes they’ve incorporated into their stories, like knitting or gardening. Historical authors might choose to blog about clothing, food, and housing from a specific time period. Sci-fi writers may post articles on particle theory or space exploration. By taking advantage of this outlet, authors can potentially gain new readers and form discussion groups on topics related to their books.

When using pictures on blogs, be sure to purchase photographs and illustrations or post items from the public domain. As I’ve mentioned before, artists don’t appreciate piracy of their work any more than authors. If caught using pirated work, bloggers may receive takedown requests and may be sued for illegal use of a copyrighted image. Be aware of the consequences.

Authors can also incorporate their non-fiction work into blogs. Numerous writers offer posts on writing and publishing. Some focus on grammar and writing craft. Others address the world of social media and advise writers on self-publishing. Whatever the topic, have firsthand knowledge or thoroughly research to provide accurate information. Misinforming blog readers/followers can have a negative effect on the author’s reputation and sales.

Blogs are a great way of building relationships with fellow authors. Instead of focusing solely on marketing and promoting her own books, an author can help others gain exposure and create a supportive writer community. Host an author and possibly receive a reciprocal gesture in return.

Blogging isn’t for everyone. It belongs in the pick-and-choose realm with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the rest of the social media options. Posting on a regular basis is vital to a successful blog. Choose to blog and do it well. Or choose alternate ways to expand visibility and do them well.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Diane Leyne

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! Siren author Diane Leyne is my guest this week and she's giving a copy of Finding Satisfaction, book 1 in her Satisfaction, Texas series, to one lucky commenter! Take it away, Diane!

Hi, my name is Diane Leyne and I've been writing for just over a year now. Coming out Monday is the 3rd book in my Satisfaction Texas series. The hot western town features cowboys, BDSM, ménage and of course strong heroines who find love even as they face jeopardy.

Uncovering Satisfaction is Nicola's story. She's an undercover operative dealing with the fall out of her last mission. Micah owns the local Satisfaction BDSM club. He's being targeted by vandalism and he's worried that it may drive him out of business. His best friend Dace is the sheriff of Satisfaction and his hands are tied because if he starts an official investigation, they both worry that private information about the club will be leaked. A mutual friend and former operative arranges for "Nick" Marlow to come to Satisfaction to help out Micah and Dace. The men aren't expecting Nick to be a woman and really not expecting to have her pose as their sub. When she makes it real, she becomes a target and the incidents escalate until Nicola's very life is in danger.

Blurb
Nicola "Nick" Marlow is an agent on leave after a devastating ending to her last undercover assignment when a friend asks her to come to Satisfaction to get to the bottom of a series of incidents that may just close the Whips and Spurs forever.

Micah Durrance owns the public saloon and private BDSM club and is getting desperate. His best friend, Sheriff Dace Lowe, is stumped too, and when a friend recommends Nick as a top-notch investigator they both jump at his offer.

Micah and Dace are surprised when Nick turns out to be Nicola, and shocked when she decides to go undercover as their sub. For real. Feelings escalate quickly as do the incidents as Nicola becomes a target. And what will happen when it’s all over? Is it all just a job to Nicola, or will her heart get broken when it’s time to leave?

Buy link: www.bookstrand.com/uncovering-satisfaction

More about Diane:
How did I first start writing? I've always been a reader, spending far too much time and money on books. It was Christmas 2012 when I noticed the "submissions" button on the Siren Publishing site. Curious, I clicked on it. The idea of writing a 60 or 100,000 word book was always intimidating, but once I realized that Siren accepted shorter works, I realized that I had no more excuses not to give it a real try. The result was No Place Like Home. Since then, I've written 22 other short novels ranging from 20,000 to almost 50,000 words in four series, Satisfaction Texas, Club Libertine, the spin off Libertine Island and my paranormal series, Call of the Wolf.

What types of books do I read? I read pretty much everything except poetry and chick lit. I seem to have been born without the poetry-appreciation gene. I really love mysteries and thrillers and my favourite authors include John Sandford, Lee Child, Jonathon Kellerman, (the late) Elizabeth Peters, Lexi Blake, Candace Blevins and Tymber Dalton.

What are my other hobbies? Photography and travel. I have done some stock photography, although not much later and have shot concerts for several bands. As for travel, I've visited more than 20 countries and love going to places. I've recently fallen in love with St. Maarten and Los Cabos Mexico. St. Maarten has appeared in the Libertine Island books, and Los Cabos has appeared briefly in Call of the Wolf 3 and will be back in book 5, which I hope to write later this spring.

Other favorites? Colour: teal, band: Lovehammers (local Chicago band), city in the US: Chicago, food: chicken fajitas

What's next? I've just started on the 9th Club Libertine book. Then I'll be doing Satisfaction Texas 6, Candy's story. It will also be Libertine Island Six and is tentatively titled, Running from Satisfaction to Libertine Island.

Follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/dianeleynebooks or check out my website at www.dianeleynebooks.com.

Remember to comment by midnight on Wednesday, March 26, for a chance to win a copy of Finding Satisfaction!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Marketing and Promotion

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

Although the majority of writers would prefer to spend all their time writing, part of being a successful author is actively participating in Marketing and Promotion. By using social media and the internet, authors can reach a large number of potential readers without a lot of expense. However, marketing and promotion require time and effort.

By posting regularly on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., readers are already engaged when the next book gets its cover or is ready for release. They’re more willing to share release day announcements and participate in contests, blog hops, and other events. By having a presence on a social media outlet, the author becomes more visible. Visibility helps sell books. As I mentioned in last week’s post on Social Media, etiquette is an important part of participation. Authors should post only on their own walls and in groups allowing promotion when having a cover reveal, celebrating a book release, or announcing a sale price.

Author websites and blogs are also primary places for posting release and pre-order announcements, new covers, contests, guest blog appearances, signings, etc. An up-to-date website or blog lets readers know the author is making an effort to keep them informed and they’re more likely to return that source for future information.

Booksignings are a great way to attract new readers. Bookstores are usually the first venue that comes to mind, but they’re far from the only possibility. Authorgraph offers readers online “autographs” for e-book purchases. Authors can sign up and add their books to Authorgraph's “library” of sign-able books.

Conferences are also a signing possibility. RWA hosts its annual Literacy for Life booksigning event at the national conference, with authors and publishers donating books to raise funds for local and national literacy programs. The American Library Association and the Public Library Association conferences are another possible opportunity for exposure through signings. Some writing organizations have booths at these conferences and allow members to donate and sign books during the event. Writing group and chapter conferences may also have booksignings, with some permitting authors to sell books to attendees rather than donating them. While selling books earns money for the author, donated books are tax deductible, if provided at cost to the author (not free ARCs or publisher supplied), and can help with that difficult to achieve commodity “visibility.”

Reader-author conventions typically have booksignings, with readers purchasing the books on-site from either a bookseller or the author. The Romantic Times (RT) Convention and Lori Foster’s Reader-Author Get Together are a couple examples of this type of convention. The event usually focuses on interaction between readers and authors more so than writer education and workshops like conferences.

Librarians and libraries are a great largely untapped resource. Developing relationships with them can provide opportunities for signings, meet-and-greets, and book discussion groups.

Blog hops and blog parties can be free or paid. The author typically offers a prize to one or more participants—a signed print book, e-book, gift card, etc. Again, these donated prizes may be tax deductible and can increase visibility. Depending on her budget, an author might choose to purchase blog-hop services from a book promoter. Ask other authors for recommendations and research all promoters and marketers prior to signing a contract or making an oral/written agreement (phone or email).

Writer friends and colleagues who host guest authors on their blogs are another valuable resource. Reciprocate, if possible, and be sure to thank the host for providing an opportunity to showcase you and your latest release.

Authors can purchase advertising through book promotion/review blogs and websites, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, BookBub, The Fussy Librarian, and many others. This avenue also depends on the author’s budget. Some are inexpensive. Some can be pricey. Research the options, costs, and typical returns on investments before forking over large sums of money to an unknown factor.

Newsletters can be an effective marketing tool, but they require preparation, regular releases, and time spent compiling a subscriber list. Services like MailChimp can assist with templates. Some online newsletter services are free and some charge a fee. Again, take time to research and ask for feedback from others who have used these services.

Marketing and promotion can became time consuming if an author tries to do everything. Try a few tools and weigh the effectiveness of each one. If one doesn’t seem to work well, try a different one. Not every outlet will produce the same results for every author, and the best marketing tool of all is the next book.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Liz Flaherty

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! This week's guest is fellow IRWA member Liz Flaherty. She's offering a copy (print or e-book--winner's choice) of her latest release to one lucky commenter, so be sure to give her lots of love! Take it away, Liz!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve got quite a bit of Irish a few generations back or just because I like the stories that come from there, but I feel a special fondness for Ireland. The only time I’ve been to Europe, that was the country we visited, and it was 10 of the most magical days I’ve ever known.

Magic was the word I chose to be my guide in 2014. Of course, as soon as I chose it and announced my choice everywhere, I wished it back. Magic, I thought, wasn’t hard to find. But it wasn’t the finding I was worried about—it was the keeping.

I haven’t done very well with branding myself as a writer. In the 16 years I’ve been published, I’ve bounced around. Instead of the 20-some books I’d kind of hoped to have by now, I have eight. And they’re, you know, varietal. (This is how I know I’m a writer—I use strange words I have to look up. ☺) I’ve written contemporary, historical, and now women’s fiction, and I’ve never really established myself that strongly in any of them.

A line from John Sebastian’s “Do You Believe in Magic” says, “…it makes you feel happy like an old time movie…” Writing all over the place has done that for me. I’ve had the best time. I’ve kept the magic.

The Girls of Tonsil Lake is my first women’s fiction title. It is about four women who have been BFFs always. Writing it was magic for me. I hope reading it will bring the same feeling to you.

Blurb: Four women whose differences only deepen the friendship forged in a needy childhood…

They were four little girls living in ramshackle trailers beside a lake in rural Indiana. They shared everything from dreams to measles to boyfriends to more dreams. As they grew up, everything in their lives changed—except their friendship. Through weddings and divorces, births and deaths, one terrible secret has kept them close despite all the anger, betrayal, and pain.

Now, forty years later, facing illness, divorce, career challenges, and even addiction, the women come together once again for a bittersweet month on an island in Maine. Staring down their fifties, they must consider the choices life is offering them now and face the pain of what happened long ago.

Secrets are revealed and truths uncovered, but will their time together cement their lifelong friendship—or drive them apart forever?

Excerpt:
I wanted Andie to come to New York, but she didn’t feel up to it. I felt a little shudder go through me when she said that. Andie’s always been so strong, and she’s cancer-free, so I found it startling and frightening when she admitted to feeling less than wonderful. But, as Let There Be Hope shows, cancer changes one in sometimes indefinable ways. Maybe this is one of those changes.

Mark and I visited some islands off the Maine coast once, in our early days. I was so enthralled that he bought me a house on one of them, a little strip of green called, appropriately enough, Hope Island. It reminds me of Bennett’s Island, the fictitious utopia of Elisabeth Ogilvie’s books, except that Hope has all the mod cons.

I love to go there. It’s a place I can be myself with little regard to what anyone else thinks. I sit in my bathrobe on the wraparound porch of the Victorian horror that is my house and drink coffee with Lucas Bishop, our neighbor. I read Jean’s books without worrying that someone will see the covers.

I’ve never taken anyone else—it was Mark’s and my private getaway—but I wouldn’t mind if it was Andie who was there. Or Jean and even Suzanne. Andie and I could work on her book. Jean could cook and keep house since she’s so crazy about doing that, and maybe even spin out one of her romances placed on an island. And Suzanne could...do our hair or something.
We would all be together as we are that single night every year when we drive to the lake and pretend we’re facing down our ghosts. I am a little afraid that the day will come that we’ll have to face them down for real.

I wonder if they’d come.

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Tonsil-Lake-Liz-Flaherty/dp/1628302496/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393513084&sr=1-1&keywords=the+girls+of+tonsil+lake

Author Bio:
The Girls of Tonsil Lake is Liz Flaherty’s eighth book, and it is no less thrilling than the first one was. Retired from the post office, she spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…30-some years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening!

She’d love to hear from you at lizkflaherty@gmail.com or please come and see her at:
http://lizflaherty.com
http://www.facebook.com/lizkflaherty
https://twitter.com/LizFlaherty1
http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/

Happy St. Patrick's Day, and remember to comment by midnight (Eastern Time) on Wednesday, March 19, for a chance to win your choice of print or e-book!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Social Media

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

Today’s author is expected to do most, if not all, of her own promo and marketing. Social media plays a large part in making books visible, creating sales, and connecting with readers. Although many writers tend to be introverts and would much rather write than socialize, the days of publisher-paid book tours and advertising have faded into rarity.

So, what the options?

Author Central (part of Amazon) offers author pages. Add photos, a bio, videos, and links to Twitter, websites, blogs, and events. Track Amazon rankings, check customer reviews, and look at sales information. Authors can claim all their books so readers/buyers can find all titles in a central location on Amazon. This social media site requires little attention, only updates as needed.

Goodreads allows authors to claim their author pages and books to create a place for readers to find out information about authors and their books as well as rate and review them. While Goodreads is designed for book ratings and reviews and not reader-author interaction, authors and readers can participate in book discussion groups. Authors can also run giveaways, enter book contests, advertise, and blog on the site. Like Author Central, Goodreads can be updated only when necessary, if preferred.

Another option is Shelfari (also part of Amazon). This site has virtual bookshelves for readers and is a self-described encyclopedia for book lovers. Authors and readers can post information about books and characters, series, family trees, etc. Shelfari also offers communities, book recommendations, and reader interaction. Again, day-to-day participation isn’t necessary.

Statistics support the assertion by some that Facebook is the favorite place for readers to interact with authors. Facebook has profiles—designed for individuals—and pages—designed for public personas. Constant marketing and promo on profiles can land users in FB jail, as can posts containing nudity and other material that may be considered offensive to some users. A profile is great for staying in touch with family, friends, and even fellow authors, but buy links to books belong on a fan page. Pages allow for “likes” instead of friends and can be created for authors, their series, writing groups, reader groups, etc. Some pages permit author promotion of books, blogs, writing tips, and contests. Be sure to read the pages’ rules for what can and can’t be posted and how often. The same rule about posting artwork on websites also applies to Facebook. If it isn’t in the public domain or hasn’t been purchased, don’t post it without the owner’s permission. Also, respect other Facebook users by not posting promo on their walls without their permission. This is called spamming and most people get very angry when it’s done to them. Be prepared for un-friending, un-liking, and blocking if you choose to engage in the practice. The same can happen when authors send out mass invitations for others to “like” their page, especially if the user has had no previous interaction with the person doing the inviting. This is also spam and is a practice everyone should avoid.

Google+ is similar to Facebook but without most of the marketing rules and without the required friend confirmation. Connections can be added to “circles” designated by the user, like “friends,” “family,” “business friends,” or “classmates.” The user chooses whether the post is privately or publicly shared. Private posts can be made visible only to the “family,” “business friends,” or whatever circle is desired. Public posts are visible to all connections who have added the user to their circles and those who view the user’s page. Posts can be “+1”ed, which is the equivalent of a Facebook “like,” as well as shared. Like Facebook, Google+ has groups. These communities can be open to anyone or require approval to join. Invitations can be sent to join communities. Some allow promotion of books, blogs, etc. Follow the group’s rules or risk being removed and blocked.

For authors who like to use visual aids as they write and want to share those with readers, Pinterest can be a good choice. This site allows users to “pin” photos, recipes, craft and building project ideas, etc. to boards. The photos may relate to period wardrobes, hero/heroine inspiration, or locations in a work-in-progress. Use photos in the public domain or with permission and avoid “pinning” those that may be considered pornographic or offensive material, as Pinterest has similar rules to Facebook regarding what content is allowed and what isn’t.

Another social media many writers use is Twitter. It’s a fast-moving, 140-character way to post personal or promotional updates and interact with those with similar interests. Users can “follow” others and be “followed,” without the requisite confirmation of Facebook “friending.” While fewer readers seem to communicate with authors through Twitter, many industry professionals are very active and often offer writing, publishing, editing, and submission tips. Some editors and agents also host pitch opportunities and announce current wish lists. Although the vast majority of these publishing industry users are happy to answer writers’ questions, they don’t appreciate unsolicited pitches. Many users also will “unfollow” when spammed with direct messages asking followers to “check out my book,” “check out my website,” “check out my blog,” “like my Facebook page,” etc.

LinkedIn also allows authors to connect with other professionals. It’s considered a networking site more than a social media outlet, but it can help writers find editors, agents, cover artists, marketing specialists, etc. The site allows users to ask and answer questions in addition to endorsing other users’ skills.

YouTube can be used for book trailers, interviews, and advertisements. Some other social media outlets include Tumblr, Reddit, and Triberr. The list could go on and on, leaving authors asking… Which are the best choices? And are they all necessary?

Rather than participating in everything and coming up short in all of them, choose those with the best mix for your time and personality. A few consistently good options are better than a dozen mediocre ones.

Remember—without the next book, they’re all irrelevant anyway!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Jennifer Denys

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! Today I have the lovely Jennifer Denys visiting from across the pond. She's been gracious enough to answer some fun questions and is giving away a copy of her latest release, Bounty Hunters' Captive, to one lucky commenter!
Blurb: Garin Avon is a rugged bounty-hunter in space, who has a mission to find a contracted sex slave, the beautiful Felissa De Lenn, who has run away from her master. He has secret reasons, more than just the credits he will earn—to get vital information. Meanwhile, he has to contend with his double-crossing ex-partner, fun-loving Rayn Dargo.

They join forces, but on the journey home they go through various adventures with pirates, aliens, and meteorites, amongst others. Both of the men begin to fall for sassy, smart-talking Felissa. She takes advantage of this using her skills to try to persuade them not to send her back to her vile owner. This sets the two bounty-hunters at each other’s throats.

Will they return her to a life she only undertook for dire reasons, even though, for Garin, it is vital he returns her? And if they keep her, will she run away from them?

Q&A:
M: Is this book part of a series?
J: It was intended to be a one-off (it came out of Friendly Seduction where the heroine helps the hero who is a sci-fi writer) but the sister of one of the heroes goes and gets herself kidnapped, so I have to tell her story now! Series name is Captured in Space.

M: I love a good conflict. What draws your main characters to each other and keeps them apart?
J: Interesting question – my two heroes are ex-partners in a bounty hunting business in space having fallen out over a previous bounty. They now fight over the heroine of BHC, a runaway sex slave, but fate intervenes and they have to work together to get her back to her master. She naturally doesn’t want to go and uses all her tricks to get them to abandon their plan, but as they journey goes on they fall in love. Will they give her back at the end of the journey or keep her? Pride, jealousy, anger, and desperation all war with love.

M: What’s your favorite sub-genre (contemporary, sci-fi, etc.) to write? To read?
J: Without a doubt Sci-fi! I am a sci-fi geek. Bounty Hunters’ Captive is my tribute to my fav sci-fi films/series/ books and there are around 50 sci-fi references in this story!

M: I usually get plot ideas in the shower and while driving. When/where does inspiration strike you?
J: My inspiration for this book is from all those years of watching Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate…. Anything with Star in it!!

M: What new stories are you working on?
J: I am writing the second in The Haunt of the Wolves series, entitled Torn Between Two Lovers and set in a werewolf BDSM club.

M: Now for a little payback for my last visit on your blog! If you could take one thing with you to the bedroom, what would it be?
J: Haha! My bounty hunters use a self sealing rope which can only be unlocked with an electronic key. I’ll have one of those! (And, of course, it will have to come with someone to use it to tie me up so that will have to be my bounty hunters…..)

M: Can I talk you into sharing an adult excerpt?
J: No problem, here goes….

As they entered Felissa’s room together she was lying across her bed, lounging against the pillows, watching an i-vid. She sat up and scowled at them.

“What do you two losers want?”

Rayn spoke first. “Well, we decided to take you at your word. That only the two of us together are men enough for you.”

Her mouth gaped open. “You’re kidding?”

“Nope. Quite serious.”

Felissa seemed a little dumbfounded. “Both of you?”
Moving to the other side of the bed, Rayn rubbed his cock through the leather of his pants. “Think you’re woman enough for two?”

Her jaw dropped then she threw back her head and chuckled. “You got anything worthwhile in there?”

Rayn chortled. “Get your lips wrapped around this, and see.”

He started to get his cock out before Garin finally moved, standing before Felissa, cupping her chin. He had to know something before they went any further. “Do you really want this, Felissa? If not, we will leave.”

“Shit, man. I’m not leaving now!” exclaimed Rayn. Garin’s lips twitched as he remembered how hard it was to change his friend’s mind once he was into the zone.

Still gazing at the girl, Garin retorted, “If Felissa isn’t happy, you can go jerk off elsewhere, buddy.”

He was entranced by the softness in her eyes and her slight smile as she pressed the button in the center of her tunic and her clothes fell off her body.

“Go ahead. Show me what you’ve got,” she declared in a husky voice. There was a twinkle in her silvery eyes.

Garin chuckled, and taking hold of her legs, he quickly pulled her toward him. Unlooping the restraints he carried, he held them up showing her what he was about to do before loosely tying her ankles to the corners of the bed. He winked at her startled face wondering if he had gone too far. But she simply raised her eyebrows in an attitude of “bring it on.”
Her hair floated around her in a pool of gold as Rayn did the same with her wrists before kneeling on the bed, his knees on either side of Felissa, clasping her head in his hands. Leaning forward he placed the tip of his freed cock on her lips.

“What? You want to put that in my mouth?” she teased.

Garin watched as his one-time friend and partner, rubbed himself along her lips, pulling away when she pretended to bite him.

“Felissa! You dare and I’m handing you over to the Krellim,” warned Garin.

She poked her tongue out at him but obediently opened her mouth, stretching out a tongue to lick Rayn. Taking the tip of his cock first, she then took more of him into her mouth as her lips wrapped around him.

The sound of her sucking aroused Garin, who couldn’t take his eyes off the scene. He was aware his own cock was throbbing but just loved watching the two of them.

“Are you joining in or just viewing?”

Rayn’s taunt got Garin moving, and he pulled her thighs wider so he could move in between them. Her body shook—with desire he hoped. Swiftly dropping his trousers he loomed over her, positioning himself until his penis touched her folds, sliding in easily, glad to find her so wet.

Her mouth left Rayn to sigh. “Yesss.” This turned into a frantic cry as Garin started to rock back and forth, thrusting in and out of her slick passage. Her breasts thumped up and down as he moved faster and faster.

“Hey, don’t forget about me.” Rayn pushed himself back into her mouth. Felissa coughed.

“Gently, man. Let her breathe.”

Rayn eased back slightly. “Sorry, sweetheart.”

Felissa clutched the ropes holding her splayed as the two men moved in tandem. Garin plunged into her vagina, and as he withdrew, in went Rayn between her lips, back and forth, slowly at first, then faster, the pre-cum from Rayn dribbling out of her mouth.

“Is this good, Felissa?” Garin asked, knowing perfectly well she was enjoying it as much as them. She nodded. That wasn’t good enough and he stopped, wanting, needing her verbal affirmation. Her eyes snapped open and she glared at him.
As she writhed underneath him pressing her engorged clit against him, his own body tightened in response to her movements, his need increasing exponentially. But he held still.

“Tell me.”

Dropping Rayn she cried, “Yes, you fucktard, it’s good. Now, move, dammit!”

Author bio: Jennifer is English and lives in a lovely historical city in the UK. Other than writing, her interests include reading (Naturally! She always has at least one book on the go, if not one by her bed, one by the bath, and one in the lounge.), all things historical including genealogy, which she has done for many, many years, watching films (particularly sci-fi), gardening, jigsaw puzzles, and walking. She lives with her pet rabbit who is thoroughly spoilt. Jennifer says she wants to come back as her own rabbit in the next life—unfortunately that would mean she still needs to be alive herself. Maybe there is a time travel story there…
If this has whetted your appetite then I am giving away one ebook copy of Bounty Hunters’ Captive to the person with the most interesting answer to this question: Name your favourite sci-fi character from any film/series or book (hero/heroine, villain, or even minor character) and why are they your fav? Don’t forget to leave your email address.

Comment by midnight (EST) on Wednesday, March 12, to be entered in the drawing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Author Websites

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

An Author Website is one of the most important promotional tools a writer can have. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, but it should be up to date and easy to navigate.

Creating a website starts with choosing a domain name (the URL). Common names are usually already taken, so many authors add “Author” to the beginning or end of their names. Sometimes, the .com address isn’t available. Using .net is an option, but consider how often readers may accidentally go to the wrong website. Is the other site for an author? A plumber? A porn star? Prices can also vary from hosting company to hosting company. Take time to do a little research before making this big decision.

The next step is deciding on hosting services. Some options like Blogger and WordPress offer free blog sites that can double as websites. Strictly website hosting services are also available and vary a lot in price. Some have upgrades for a higher fee, allowing the user to have more pages and access to more design options. Again, research is key to avoid overpaying for service.

Some website builders have templates and some require a fair amount of technical knowledge, including writing html code. Website designers offer many services to those who aren’t adept at such skills for varying prices to build the site and additional monthly, semi-annual, or annual charges to maintain the site and update information when necessary. Compare costs and time.

Content is next on the list. Branding should be a large part of the artistic content. Stock art is a great option and can be purchased for relatively little money in many cases. All art should be used only with written permission from the owner if digital rights have not been purchased. Using licensed photos and illustrations without permission is illegal and can result in the owner not only requesting the work be removed, but pursuing legal action against the user. Artists don’t like piracy any better than authors.

Be sure text portions are easy to read and free of errors. Use a large enough size and simple font for comfortable reading. Blurbs, excerpts, and informational text with mistakes can give the impression that the author’s books will also contain misspelled words, misused words, and/or grammar issues. Authors can lose potential readers by not proofreading text on their websites!

The layout should be well organized and the color contrast should be eye-friendly. Too many intricate designs and harsh colors can distract. Some background/text color combinations are difficult to read. Simplicity usually works best. Take advantage of multiple-page websites by using a different page for each series, publisher, or genre. Works-in-progress, upcoming books, and contests for readers can fill the pages of a new author. Add book covers and buy links as well blurbs, excerpts, and future release dates. An organized site is easier to navigate. Consider a professional photograph with digital rights if including an author photo and biography.

Be sure to include links to all your social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, Amazon author page, blogs, etc.). Allow readers quick access to interaction. A single click is far more effective for connecting with readers and selling books than two clicks or a Google search.

Ask for feedback from friends, other authors, and readers. Use their comments and suggestions to refine the website and make it visitor-friendly. When updates are needed, don’t delay. Keep your storefront up to date for your readers!

Check out your favorite authors’ websites. What features do you like? What can be improved? Do certain colors draw the eye? Which ones make reading difficult? A little research can provide insight into what works and doesn’t work.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Linda Morris

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! This week my guest is fellow IRWA chapter sister Linda Morris. Her new release, The Mason Dixon Line, is a new adult romance and features an unconventional hero. Read on for a peek! Oh, and her fabulous cover was created by the talented Bethany Michaels of Dragonfly Press Design!

Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a PDF copy of The Mason Dixon Line!

Blurb:
Carolyn Hart has excelled at one thing her whole life: looking good. She has the beauty and style to turn heads. But making her own way in the world turns out to be a lot tougher than getting elected homecoming queen. She has no idea what she wants to do with her life, her credit card balance is becoming self-aware, and her love life is DOA. And now her boss at Horizons, a school for kids with special needs, has given her an unwelcome assignment: to work with a cartoonist to create a kids' book as a fundraiser for the school.

Former troubled kid Mason Dixon would do anything for the aunt who took him in after his parents gave up on him. But when he offers to illustrate a kids' book as a fundraiser for her pet cause, he winds up taking on way more than he bargained for. The gorgeous teacher's aide he's assigned to work with challenges him at every turn and makes him wonder if there's any line he won't cross for her.

Excerpt:
Mason should never have agreed to this. He and the educational system had never gotten along.

The girl -- what was her name? Carol? Caroline -- shifted her cup to her left hand and stuck her right out. He took it, more out of habit than anything else. It was soft, and still warm from where the heat of her cup had penetrated her skin.
He let go, not wanting to get too comfortable touching her.

"I'm actually a teacher's aide, not a teacher."

Whatever. Teacher, aide, same difference to him. She was the enemy, even if she had soft, warm hands and the kind of perfect bone structure you expected to see on a comic-book illustration. The kind of bone structure his pencil would love to sketch, even though it would be a challenge to capture the combination of sensuality and attitude she carried.
Mason loved a challenge.

They took their seats in silence.

As he always did when he spotted an interesting face, he pulled a sketch pad and a drawing pencil out of his bag and went to work.

She watched in silence for a few moments until the first lines on the page began to take shape.

"You're drawing me?" She sounded surprised.

"Yeah. You mind?"

"No, I guess not. I'm Carolyn Hart, by the way."

Carolyn Hart. He let the name roll around in his brain for a minute and wondered how it might sound on his tongue. The name sounded like a spunky heroine from one of those old comic strips with a single woman as the lead character, back when that was a novelty. Mary Worth. Juliet Jones. Lu Ann Powers in Apartment 3-G.

Buy link:
The Mason Dixon Line is available for the Kindle at http://amzn.to/1kn73Ml. (More platforms to come later.)

Author Bio:
Linda Morris is a writer of contemporary romance. She writes stories with heart and heat, along with a joke or two thrown in. Her book Melting the Millionaire's Heart was an Amazon Top 100 Series Romance bestseller. Its sequel, The Mason Dixon Line, was published in Feb. 2014. Her vacation fling romance, Nice Work if You Can Get It, will be published by Swoon Romance in Aug. 2014. A Sedona-set spa story, Just a Touch, is coming from Samhain in Dec. 2014.
When she's not writing, working as a freelance editor, or mommying, she's doing yoga, reading, working in her flower garden, or baking delicious things she probably shouldn't eat. She believes that there are two kinds of people: pie people and cake people, and she is definitely one of the former. Her years of Cubs fandom prove she has a soft spot for a lost cause. A beat-up old copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss's Ashes in the Wind was her gateway drug into the world of romance novels, and she's never looked back.

Linda loves to hear from readers. Chat with her on Twitter (@LMorrisWriter) or like her author page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ lindamorrisbooks) for updates and releases. You can read excerpts and news at her website (www.lindamorrisbooks.com).

The Mason Dixon Line is in my ever-expanding to-be-read pile! Be sure to leave a comment by midnight (EST) on Wednesday, March 5, for a chance to win a PDF copy!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!